Dress Shirt Collar

Perfecting a collar dress shirt collar is no easy feat even under the best of circumstances. It is by far the most complex part of the dress shirt and one wrong decision could turn the best intentions into a dated mess. We have worked extensively with our pattern makers and tailors to ensure that you have great options. We wanted to drop a little knowledge on you to help you choose the best collar to fit your taste and lifestyle.

Types of Dress Shirt Collars

In general, collars can be divided to 3 categories:
  1. Folded / Turnover – a collar that covers all or part of the neck and then folds over. This is the most common type and very likely what you’re wearing right now.
  2. Standing – a collar that covers the neck and stands straight up without folding over.
  3. Flat – a collar that lays down on the shoulders. This was once the most popular style, but these days unless you’re acting in a period film or dressing up as a pirate, chances are good you won’t be wearing one of these guys.

We here at J.J. offer variations on the Folded collar, which we break down a little further for you below. First we thought some basic terminology would be useful.

  1. Collar Points - The tips of the collar.
  2. Collar Point Length – The distance from the Collar Points to where they meet the Collar Band.
  3. Collar Band - the piece of fabric that wraps around the neck.
  4. Collar Height - how high a folded collar measures on the neck.
  5. Tie Space - The distance between the top of the folded collar parts when the shirt is buttoned.
  6. Spread – The distance between Collar Points.
  7. Collar stay / Collar bone – if you flip up your shirt collar you’ll find a very small pocket underneath each collar point. Inside of the pocket you’ll find a pointy piece of plastic. This is called a collar stay and helps to keep the collar standing straight. Please remember to remove the stay prior to washing your shirt.

Here’s the skinny on the three collars we offer:

Semi spread/ or cut away collar:

This is our most popular collar option. It’s easy to wear with or without a tie and is equally appropriate for dress or casual occasions. It has a 5 inch spread, and a ¼” inch tie space. (You remember what those are right?) This ratio allows you to wear ties of various widths and is also a good size to wear open without a tie. The collar height on each of our collars is 1.5.” This makes them extremely comfortable to wear and not too constricting.

Spread collar

It was originally the British Duke of Windsor in the 1930’s who popularized this collar. The difference between this one and the semi spread is an extra inch on the spread so 6” instead of 5”. This extra space allows for a super wide knot (such as the Windsor, surprise, surprise). Today this collar has become commonly worn open without a tie for an edgier look. As before this guy has a comfortable collar height of 1.5”.

Button down collar:

This guy is a true American hero. For more than 100 years men in America have worn button down collars, with or without a tie, for every occasion. The style was originally made for polo players, but you certainly don’t need to be riding a horse to appreciate it. The button down has a much narrower spread than the semi spread and spread collars we offer. If you’re gonna wear it with a tie, either a skinny tie or a skinny knot would be most appropriate. We’re still thinking about your comfort, so this one also has a height of 1.5”.
Dress shirt collar

Semi spread/ or cut away collar

Spread collar

Button down collar